Summary: Our security in salvation is discovered through faith in Christ and not by dependence on anything or anyone else.
SECURITY IN SALVATION
It is interesting to note the things that people find security in. Many find security in material possessions. Among these may be a fine house, a boat, hunting equipment, a nice car, fine furniture and the like. Others find security in insurance policies: health and property. Somte time ago, this aspect of security hit me. We had had no insurance on our belongings. With word of thieves breaking in, I began to wonder how we would replace belongings that were important to us if someone stole them or if a fire or natural disaster destroyed them. The way I solved the problem was by taking out some insurance. Others invest in retirement programs and Social Security so that they might have financial security at retirement or disability. Still others sasve in some manner for their children's future. Many choose to make out a will. This assures the security of their belongings after their death. We lock our houses at night and lock up other valuables to provide a sense of security. There is something about feeling secure in our persons and with our belongings that is a part of human nature. This sense of security or being safe causes a feeling of calmness to come over us that is not present when we feel insecure.
In like manner, we need to feel secure in our salvation. Paul continues his defense in these passages by telling us this security can come only through faith in Jesus Christ. We cannot work for this sense of security found in salvation. Christ freely gives it to those who express the desire to possess it.
Along with this teaching, he rebukes the Galatians for allowing the Judaizers to bewitch or trick them. They had previously accepted his message that salvation comes by faith alone, but now some of them had allowed the Judaizers to trick them into believing that they had to work for it. They had defected from and deserted the teachings of Paul and more importantly Jesus. They were undercutting the gospel message of salvation through their actions. They were trying to improve on the finished work of Christ, and this is an impossibility. By doing so, they were losing the joy and freedom of their salvation. They were returning to the bondage of legalism by which no one could be saved.
Perhaps you have known or know Christians like this. They started out well in the faith but pulled away for some reason. Some fall into the trap of believing in legalism or some form of works righteousness. Others may fall into formalism or observing external ceremonies and rites as a part of their salvation. Some try to improve their standing before God by observing the strict do's and don'ts. Others look for some second blessing that will lead them to a higher spiritual plane. Some look for a second work of grace. We cannot add anything at all to our faith. This is the bottom line of salvation and what we find security in as well.
In these verses, Paul reminds them that faith is the necessary element. He also tells them that this experience of faith involves Christ, the Holy Spirit and God the Father. Because of this, we need not depend on anything other than our faith for our acceptance by God.
I. IS BASED ON OUR EXPERIENCE WITH CHRIST
Paul calls his readers foolish. This probably resulted from a mixture of anger, love and surprise over their turning back to the old ways. He could hardly believe what they were doing. Their actions were especially foolish because Paul had taught them well. There was no reason for them to turn back to a works salvation. Foolish here speaks of mental laziness and carelessness. If they had not been taught well, Paul perhaps could have understood their actions, but he had taught them well. Therefore, it was pure spiritual laziness on their part. When they faced the false doctrines of the Judaizers, instead of using their spiritual intelligence to refute their teachings, they succumbed to them. Obviously, they had stopped believing and applying the truths of the gospel as taught by Paul. They were compromising the gospel of grace. They were following their impulses rather than the truth of God's Word.
The Galatians were actually bewitched. The word means to charm or fascinate in a misleading way. It may involve false promises, flattery or occultic power. It suggests using feeling over fact and emotion over a clear understanding. They should have recognized the teachings of the Judaizers as false, but they were bewitched because they were foolish. They supplemented faith in Christ with good works. William Hendrickson in his Galatian's commentary says; “A supplemented Christ is a supplanted Christ.”
This was foolish on their part because the crucified Christ was publicly portrayed before them. This was the heart of the gospel message Paul preached to them. They believed and received that by faith. Publicly portrayed carries the idea of a message posted in the marketplace or some other public place where people can read it. Paul put Jesus up before them, and they had believed the gospel he presented to them, but now they were backtracking. By turning back to legalism, they were denying the saving power of Christ.